Monday, March 7, 2016

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Options for boat-accessible dining abound in SWFL

The Boathouse offers a grand view of Naples Bay. 

The Boathouse offers a grand view of Naples Bay. COURTESY PHOTO Whether it’s a shrimp basket at Coconut Jack’s, gator bites at Stan’s Idle Hour or cutting-edge Continental cuisine at M Waterfront Grille, somehow it all tastes better if you’ve traveled there by boat.
The region offers a bounty of boat-accessible options, ranging from ultra-casual to special-occasion chic. Following is a sampling of the spots available.
The primary thing to remember is that many of these establishments have only a few slips and popular spots fill up quickly — especially on weekends — so call ahead to ensure there’s room and to get precise nautical directions before making the trip.

Bonita Springs
¦ Big Hickory Seafood Grille and Marina, 26107 Hickory Blvd., Bonita Springs, 992-0991; Channel Marker 60 is the key to finding this reliable old restaurant, where there’s 4 feet of water even at low tide. Belly up to a plate of fish tacos, a grouper sandwich, burgers or full entrees with a Caribbean flair at this rustic but charming spot overlooking Estero Bay.

If you plan to dine at the historic Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City, leave your plastic at home.

If you plan to dine at the historic Rod and Gun Club in Everglades City, leave your plastic at home. N 26.358598, W-81.857557
¦ Coconut Jack’s Waterfront Grille, 5370 Bonita Beach Road; 676-7777; Dine inside or out at this festive restaurant that offers casual fare such as ceviche, barbecue pork nachos, coconut shrimp, salads, sandwiches and seafood baskets as well as more substantive dishes such as baby back ribs and lobster tails.
N 26-19.836 W 081-50.495

¦ The Fish House, 4685 Bonita Beach Road; 495-5770; on Bonita’s Back Bay. Casual setting with casual fare that includes smoked fish dip, blackened tuna bites, quesadillas, seafood baskets and grouper tacos.
N 27.50967, W 80.32549

Everglades City
¦ Rod and Gun Club, 200 Riverside Drive (State Road 29), Everglades City; 695-2101; on the Barron River 42 miles from Capri Pass in Marco Island. This historic inn that has hosted the likes of Ernest Hemingway, Gypsy Rose Lee, Sean Connery and Mick Jagger offers dining on a spacious porch or indoors on Florida specialties such as gator (fried or sautéed), smoked fish dip, shrimp, frog legs, seafood as well as sandwiches and entrees for carnivores. Keep in mind that this one is historic, somewhat rustic and accepts cash only.
N 25.8562393, W 81.3883667

¦ Stan’s Idle Hour, 221 Goodland Drive West; 394-3041. This popular watering hole is known as much for its entertainment — and its distinctive dance, the buzzard lope — as it is for its food and drink. Get there early on Sundays if you hope to find space to dock. Chow down on wings, gator bites, fried scallops, frog legs, peel and eat shrimp and, of course, a cold beverage.
N 25.9259338, W 81.6485519

Marco Island
¦ The Blue Heron, 387 Capri Blvd., Isles of Capri, 394-6248; Savor a sunset over the water while dining on dishes such as sushi-grade ahi tuna, surf and turf, crab cakes and cioppino.
N 25 59.145, W 081 43 528
¦ The Capri Fish House, 203 Capri Blvd., Isle of Capri; 389-5555; Marker 8 on Little Marco River. Just a few miles from Marco Island, this tropical getaway serves mondo cheeseburgers along with gator nuggets, shrimp, scallops, steaks, Florida lobster and jambalaya.
N 25.9844723, W 81.7271042
¦ Snook Inn, 1215 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island; 394-3313; from Naples on Intracoastal Waterway, head around Keewaydin Island to Capri Pass, make a sharp left into Marco River and restaurant is about ¼-mile on right. A popular dining spot for boaters, Snook Inn serves favorites such as crab cakes, grouper, oyster po’boys and will cook your catch as well.
N 26.205111, W 81.7761574

¦ Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar, Village at Venetian Bay, 4270 Gulf Shore Blvd. N.; 649-5552; with indoor and outdoor seating and lots of seafood, salads, and other American dishes; A few slips are available at Park Shore Marina.
N26 11.911, W 81 48.941
¦ The Boathouse on Naples Bay, 990 Broad Ave. South, Naples; 643-2235; Marker 4. Casual dining with a grand view of Naples Bay at the tip of downtown Naples and a menu with a boatload of seafood, including oysters, mussels and clams, shrimp, seafood gumbo, seafood platters, various surf and turf combos plus burgers, salads and more.
N 26.1341632, W 81.7938539
¦ The Dock at Crayton Cove, 845 12th Ave. S., Naples; 263-9940; at Marker 35 (The City Dock) pass the fueling station and take a hard left. It’s 100 yards ahead. Serves blue crab rolls, nachos, chowder, raw bar, fish tacos, burgers.
N 26.1327544, W 81.7946747
¦ Fish, Village at Venetian Bay, 4360 Gulf Shore Blvd. N.; 263-3474; A stylish restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating and a profusion of fish dishes, including sushi, a raw bar, ceviche, calamari, trout, walleye, scallops, various pasta dishes, a few meat options and an organic veggie plate. There’s limited dock space at adjacent Park Shore Marina.
N 26 11.911, W81 48.941
¦ MiraMare, Village at Venetian Bay, 4236 Gulf Shore Blvd. N.; 430-6273, featuring seafood with Northern Italian flair, including soups, salads, pasta, pizza and well-executed entrees. There are a limited number of slips available at the adjoining Park Shore Marina.
N 26 11.911, W 81 48.941
¦ M Waterfront Grille, Village on Venetian Bay, 4300 Gulf Shore Blvd. North, 263-4421; dock at adjacent Park Shore Marina. The former Maxwell’s features a stylish atmosphere (and tables indoors and outside with bay views) and cutting-edge Continental cuisine, including organic and sustainable items, with a full range of salads, appetizers, beef and seafood.
N 26 11.911, W 81 48.941
¦ Jack’s River Bar and Grill, 475 North Road, Naples 213-1441; Whether you like your oysters and clams steamed or raw, Jack’s will serve them your way, along with homemade chili, crab cakes, black beans and rice and other hearty fare.
N 26.1510216, W 81.782999
¦ Mereday’s Fine Dining, Naples Bay Resort, 1500 5th Avenue S., 732-0784; Choose from a three-, four-or five-course tasting menu or sit at the bar and try just one or two — or go whole hog on a large plate. Whether it’s an heirloom beet salad, seared foie gras, veal sweetbreads, Creole shrimp or any other of the perfectly composed dishes the chef creates, you will dine well.
N 26.155926, W 81.786133
¦ Pinchers Tin City, Tin City 1200 Fifth Ave. South, Naples; 434-6616; enter Gordon Pass and head north past Marker 40 to just before Gordon River Bridge and turn in to Tin City. The menu features seafood, including shrimp, mussels, crabs, scallops, and fish and chips with a few items for carnivores.
N 26.1413536, W 81.7905197
¦ Riverwalk at Tin City, 1200 Fifth Ave. South, 263-2734; see directions above for Pinchers. This casual restaurant with a well-chosen wine list offers lots of seafood, including grouper, fish tacos, seafood gumbo, fish and chips and a raw bar bucket, as well as baby back ribs, jerk chicken and more.
N 26.1413536, W 81.7905197
¦ Tavern on the Bay, 489 Bayfront Place, Naples, 530-2225; This stylish waterfront sports bar has a well-rounded menu that includes pulled pork barbecue, chicken wings, flatbread pizzas, burgers, salads and sandwiches as well as refreshments from super cold beer to exotic mixed drinks.
N 26.1431754, W 81.7890997
¦ T-Michaels Steak and Lobster, Village at Venetian Bay, 4050 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., 261-0622; The former Cloyde’s serves just what the name promises. Enjoy fine dining on steaks and seafood in the main dining room overlooking the water or more casual fare in the lounge. Limited slips available at Park Shore Marina.
N26 11.911, W 81 48.941
¦ The Turtle Club Restaurant, Vanderbilt Beach Resort 9225 Gulf Shore Drive, 592-6557; Tie up and sit down — indoors or right on the beach — for a great view of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico while dining on seafood chowder, wild mushroom flatbread, salads, locally sourced seafood and steaks.
N 26.2550507, W 81.8233643
¦ The Village Pub, Village at Venetian Bay, 4360 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., 262- 2707; A casual eatery serving soup, salad, sandwiches and entrees with a prime view of Venetian Bay. A limited number of slips are available at the adjacent Park Shore Marina.
N26 11.911, W 81 48.941 ¦

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